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MLB Pipeline, ESPN place multiple Pirates in 2024 top 100 prospect rankings

Paul Skenes and Termarr Johnson lead the way as the Pirates’ last two first-round picks in the top 5

Altoona Curve v Erie Seawolves Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

It’s that time of year when prospect outlets deliver their top 100 lists and organizational top 30s. The Pittsburgh Pirates have been well-represented on several lists.

One of the most valued and trusted sources of prospect information, MLB Pipeline selected five Pirates farmhands for their 2024 top 100 prospects rankings. No. 1 overall pick Paul Skenes is a top-five prospect in the sport at No. 3 overall and the highest-ranked starting pitcher. Regarded as the best pitching prospect since Stephen Strasburg, Skenes owns an 80-grade fastball and 70-grade slider. He allowed four runs and only recorded two outs in his Double-A Altoona debut but bounced back with two scoreless innings to close his season after 6.2 frames.

No. 44 overall prospect Termarr Johnson was the Bucs’ first-round selection the year prior and placed as the No. 1 second baseman in minor league ball. Johnson hit .244 with 18 home runs, 59 RBI, and 101 walks compared to 120 strikeouts in 105 games between Single-A Bradenton and High-A Greensboro.

Right-handed starter Jared Jones is the next-highest Pirate at No. 62 overall after a tremendous 2023 season. Jones dominated to the tune of a 2.23 ERA, a .201 opponent batting average, 1.08 WHIP, and 44 strikeouts in 44.1 frames with Altoona before spending the second two-thirds of the year in Indianapolis. In 16 games (15 starts) with Triple-A Indy, Jones punched out 99 but allowed a 4.72 ERA and .240 opposing average in 82 total innings. A three-pitch pitcher with a solid fastball (65), curveball (55), and slider (55) boosts the 2020 second-rounder into a position to fight for a rotation spot around mid-June.

Anthony Solometo (No. 82) and Bubba Chandler (No. 93) are products of the 2021 draft and over-slot signings the Pirates acquired with help from the Henry Davis selection. Solometo, left-handed, and Chandler, right-handed, are both 21 years old with plenty of upside. The former struck out 68 in 58.2 innings in 12 starts with Greensboro (2.30 ERA) before getting the call to Altoona. He pitched fairly well with the Curve in 12 starts, owning a 1.22 WHIP despite a 4.35 ERA and a few late-season outings that got away from him to close the year. Solometo had a 3.48 ERA on Aug. 2 before it ballooned a run in his final five starts, falling to go five innings or more on one occasion.

Chandler was hit more than Chandler - .265 AVG and 1.50 WHIP - and is more of a power pitcher than Solometo with an upper-90s fastball and solid slider. He owned a 4.75 ERA through 106 innings with a 9-4 record in Greensboro before pitching his final game of the year in Altoona. Chandler was fantastic and only allowed one hit while striking out eight in five innings to earn the win.

Kiley McDaniel of ESPN has released his top 100 Prospects for the upcoming 2024 season, with four Pirates cracking the charts. Like Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, Skenes paces all Pirates at No. 7 overall. Johnson follows Skenes at No. 34. The same top three prospects MLB Pipeline regards to be the best in the Pirates organization were of a similar thought for McDaniel.

Jared Jones sits at No. 53, but the biggest difference is the last selection. Right-handed starter and 2022 No. 36 overall pick Thomas Harrington cracks the list at No. 98. Harrington recorded a 3.53 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 146 strikeouts in 127.1 innings between Bradenton and Greensboro.

Baseball America selected Skenes (9), Chandler (59), Jones (74), and Johnson (77) in their top 100.

Headlined by Paul Skenes and Termarr Johnson, 13 minor leagues were invited to big league camp in Bradenton.

Skenes and Johnson will be joined by Solometo, Chandler, Jones, and Harrington, catchers Carter Bins and Abraham Gutierrez, infielders Andres Alvarez and Jack Brannigan, outfielder Matt Gorski, and utilityman Joe Perez.

The Pirates report to spring training on Wednesday, Feb. 15.